Teacher creates invention to save lives during school shootings
MUSCATINE, Iowa —
It's a simple metal piece that can save lives during an active shooter setting. All you do is slip it on the door closer and it can resist up to 550 pounds of force.
Daniel Nietzel is a teacher in Muscatine and president of Fighting Chance Solutions. He says safety in schools is personal.
"I tried to put my son in that classroom. What would I want on that door?" he said.
He said the slam of a locker makes him worry it could be a shooter.
"We live in a society now where there is potential for you to be in the middle of a lesson and someone coming into your school with a gun to kill innocent children," he said.
Nietzel came up with The Sleeve. He and four other educators in Muscatine started the company Fighting Chance Solutions.
Edwin Colon, a counselor in the Muscatine School District, is also the vice president of production at Fight Chance Solutions. He says each school shooting he hears about is painful.
"It really hits me. You never want to deal with that and you can't say that it will never happen here. The reality of the situation is that it can," Colon said.
Right now, most classroom doors only lock from the outside. During the Sandy Hook shooting, a teacher was shot when she stepped into the hallway to lock the door.
"She wasn't even involved in the main incident in the kindergarten classroom. She was out of that, but she was still shot," Nietzel said.
This new invention works to prevent that. It quickly slips on to keep the shooter out, and comes off in one second for evacuation.
"The product works. The science is there. Our engineers did all the testing," Colon said.
To top it all, they have made it affordable for teachers to put in their classrooms. It's priced at $65, so it's cost-efficient even if school districts won't fund it.
"We have the potential to save lives. To me, there is nothing more noble than to save lives in the profession that we chose to go into - something very near and dear to our heart," Nietzel said.
The Sleeve, made of steel, currently has a patent pending. It's another layer of protection that buys you the extra time during a crisis.
Two days after their first press conference, Fighting Chance Solutions has received overwhelming support from around the nation. Teachers and school districts from all around the United States have been contacting the inventors and placing orders.
Bob Allbee, president of Muscatine Community College, is making a bulk order for two buildings on campus that have closer arms on doors. In case of a school shooting, he says this is just the way to buy extra time until local law enforcement arrives.
A teacher from Rockridge Junior High, Margie Steiner, says she wants to buy one for her own classroom.
"Absolutely, what is the price to keeping my students safe? It's well worth it," she said.
Nietzel, said he never expected his product to reach the nation so quickly. He said he is glad that parents and teachers are proactive and trying to keep their students safe.